Ahhh, Calamari. Why have I not made thee before?

This was so easy, and so fabulous. Sautéed calamari is a frequently ordered item when Heather and I go out, but I’m kicking myself for not making it before. All in all, prep and cook time was 15 minutes or less. The recipe is below. As usual, I’m pretty vague with my portions (you just need to feel it). Make sure to do the cooking in portions, as the calamari must be cooked in a single layer. The sauté time is quick, so you need to make sure it gets cooked through. Enjoy!

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  • 1 pound cleaned calamari
  • 2-4 garlic cloves chopped
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • 1/2 lemon
  • tri color grape tomatoes, halved
  • small bunch chopped oregano
  • small bunch chopped parsley
  • salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  1. Dry calamari with a paper towel and cut into 3/4″ rings. The tentacles can be left whole, unless very large.
  2. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until smoking. Add butter (to taste), then only enough calamari to cover the pan surface. Add similar portions of garlic, tomatoes, oregano, and parsley to the pan, and season with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Cook, tossing frequently, until squid is opaque and cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Make sure not to overcook. Repeat until all the calamari is cooked. Squeeze lemon over squid, toss and serve.

Octopus, anyone?

Every time I passed the sushi case, the octopus was there, daring me to step up and order some. Yesterday, I finally did. Have you had it before? You just have to get past the fact that it’s covered in suckers. The texture is not nearly as chewy as you may think. Heather described it as almost crunchy, like a soft water chestnut. It has a mild flavor and is truly excellent.

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It was too beautiful not to photograph the whole leg, but we served it diced up into bite-sized pieces, along with finely diced ginger and scallions, and drizzled with teriyaki sauce.

I said “pretty” in public.

We were in the Italian market in Canandaigua. It just slipped out in my fascination with the garlic. “Wow, these are pretty!” Not that I wouldn’t normally use the word pretty, just not in reference to garlic. I think the clerk’s strange glance towards me brought Heather to say, “Oh, he’s a photographer, he says that all the time.”

You can’t say they aren’t pretty, so can you blame me? In the weeks since I purchased them, I’m having trouble deciding if I was drawn to their subtle coloring, or nice shape and amazing texture. A color photo emphasizes one trait, black and white the others. I like them both! What’s you’re favorite?

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Merry (Holiday of your choice)!

Whatever holiday you are celebrating this Christmas eve, I’m sure this will make it better. It’s a little treat brought to you in a round-about way from 1961 Vodka, Restaurant 2Vine, my friend Ann, and Heather and me, called the Queen Ann.

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I mentioned 1961 Vodka a few posts back, here. I was working with Ann on all of the cocktail and bottle photography for 1961Vodka.com, which I recommend you check out…as I helped develop the recipes, too. (It was a fun shoot!) It’s fabulous vodka, I suggest you look for a bottle!

Restaurant 2Vine created the cocktail in Ann’s honor. Just for fun, I decided to photograph it in a similar fashion to the others. Pour one ounce 1961 Vodka and 1 ounce strawberry puree in a champagne glass. Top with sparkling wine, garnish with a strawberry, and celebrate. Cheers!

The nap inducer.

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving nap! The super fun chaos of hosting Thanksgiving for 30 delayed the start of my nap (as well as the posting of this image/animation), but I did manage to finish the entire plate, making it inevitable. And it was good.

A toast to leftovers starts now! Cheers!

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I’m thankful for cheese. Good cheese.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! I’m thankful for love, family, friends, all the wonderful things around me, getting to say y’all every now and then, and life in general. I hope y’all feel the same way, everything is great in your world, and you are spending time with your loved ones. The Thanksgiving turkey post will come (no pictures yet, insert segue), so I’m going to shift gears and say I’m thankful for cheese. Especially when all you have to do is say, “Yes, please. I’d love a sample!”

I was walking through the Wegmans cheese department (this happens frequently, as I photograph cheese often), and the Giorgio Cravero Parmigiano Reggiano was being sampled, paired with pear infused balsamic vinegar. It took me just to the end of the first bite to grab a chunk and a bottle…and go in search of more balsamic flavors.

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As you can see, I decided on fig, along with the fresh fruit to pair with it. Bread and wine (which I’m also thankful for) weren’t far behind on my shopping list.

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The ciabatta baguette was a nice way to soak up a little extra vinegar, and to keep it from dripping as you’re dipping. The pear variety is a little sweeter, blending well with the tart balsamic vinegar base. The fig version is lighter (just like the color), and considerably more tart. Both were excellent (slight edge to the pear), and went well with the cheese. The cheese was a little softer and more moist than most aged parm, with more brilliant flavors of caramel, fruit, and nuts. Giorgio Cravero created an excellent (as the label states) “small batch, Artisinal, Parmigiano Reggiano”.

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Two varieties of Apothic wines seemed appropriate, as we had the 2 varieties of vinegar. They were probably too deep a red for the pairing, but were very good! Both are California blends with dark fruit and layers of flavor. The Red (Heather’s favorite) is definitely lighter and adds a few notes of vanilla and jam. The Dark (my favorite) is true to name, darker, with hints of coffee and dark chocolate.

Enjoy your day! Cheers!

The diversity of beer and music.

I went to the beer store. While this isn’t necessarily an odd occurrence, my mission was unusual. I volunteered to shoot an image for this month’s RAF event, 20 Minutes and a Beer. (Join the Facebook event!) Anthony DeVito from Pandora will be speaking about the current and future state of streaming audio. Thus my mission was to find some beers that relate to music! Beer and music come in hugely varying options, so I find it fitting that the two I ended up choosing are so different in their inspiration and their taste/style.

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First we have Trooper. A traditional English ale inspired by the song of the same name, it was created by Bruce Dickinson (the Iron Maiden vocalist), and brewed by Robinson’s. The iconic artwork was hard for me to pass up, as it brought me back to my high school days of listening to heavy metal. The website describes the beer as malt flavours and citric notes from a unique blend of Bobec, Goldings and Cascade hops dominate this deep golden ale with a subtle hint of lemon. There is a bit of malt hiding under the citrus and hops to help hold it together, but I found it a bit too lemony, with not enough malt. It was good, and probably a great example of the style, but I really wanted to like it more. I have, however, added an Iron Maiden station to my Pandora account.

Second, we have the re-release of Bitches Brew by Dogfish Head. It was first created in 2010 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original release of Bitches Brew, Miles Davis’ 1970 groundbreaking jazz album. A dark beer that’s a fusion of three threads of imperial stout and one thread of honey beer with gesho root. I found this to be a fabulous stout, very dark in color with a thick, rich caramel head, featuring a great blend of mild bitterness and mild roast. Flavors of dark chocolate and coffee mix in with just a touch of caramel and honey. An excellent and drinkable beer with a slight malty finish, it’s much drier than you may think given the flavors. Of the two, I have to give the Bitches Brew the hands down victory. I have also added a Bitches Brew station to Pandora!

Which station are you going to add? Which beer are you going to try?

If you’re in the area, please join me at Good Luck on Tuesday!

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